St. Louis to consider banning ‘conversion therapy’

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St. Louis, Missouri (Image by skeeze from Pixabay)

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis City Council committee has advanced an ordinance that would ban “conversion therapy” within the city limits.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the measure, which now goes to the full council, is sponsored by Ald. Christine Ingrassia.

If it passes, it would make St. Louis the third Missouri city to pass a ban. Columbia banned it last month and Kansas City, the state’s largest city, banned it just yesterday.

It would bar licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation of minors.

The practice has been banned by a growing number of states and cities. Illinois banned the practice in 2015. A bill to bar federal funds from going to it was filed in March of this year.

In September, the American Medical Association released a study that showed “conversion therapy” has been linked to an increased likelihood of psychological distress and suicide attempts with transgender adults.

Opponents said the measure violated free speech and interfered with parents’ ability to decide children’s medical care. Supporters told the committee the damage the therapy does and that it doesn’t actually work.

The Post-Dispatch reported the committee passed the measure 6-0. Therapists found violating the law could face a fine of as much as $500 or up to 90 days in jail or both.

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